Foster carers will be taking to the streets of Salford to ‘tell it like it is’ during national Foster Care Fortnight (14 to 27 May).
The men and women, who care for a wide range of children and young people, will be speaking at four open evenings designed to recruit more people to become foster carers.
Martin, who worked as a painter and decorator for 30 years, will talk about how he swapped his tools for teddy bears and says it was the best decision he ever made.
“There are two questions people always ask about fostering. How can you afford it and how can you give the children up once you’ve had them in your home?” said Martin who specialises in short term foster care for toddlers.
“Salford City Council pays an allowance as well as covering major expenses, such as birthdays, Christmas and school trips for older children and provides essential equipment, such as cots or baby safety gates. As foster carers are always in demand, I’m rarely without a placement so I have a steady income to replace the money I used to earn being self-employed.
“As for saying goodbye, that is tough but we’re here to do a job and help out a child and family in crisis. If the children are going back to their birth family or to another foster family who will care for them through to adulthood it’s as much a time to celebrate as to be sad. You know you’ve done your bit, helped a family in crisis and given their child a loving, stable, safe home for the time it’s needed, created lots of positive memories for the child and had a lot of fun. There’s nothing more rewarding.”
Councillor Lisa Stone, lead member for children’s and young people’s services, Salford City Council, said: “We’ve got a wide range of children who need someone to care for them and we’re always looking for a wide range of people to match them with.
“Foster carers can be young or older, in a relationship (including same sex) or single, have a religious faith or not and can rent or own their own home. It really doesn’t matter – all that counts is that you’re the right person to be a foster carer and can provide a home and have the time to care for a young person.
“You’ll be paid for your work and there’s full training to get you started and keep you going. And you’ll get great support from council staff and a friendly network of other foster carers who will be happy to share their advice and experience with you.
“We’re particularly looking for placements for older children or groups of brothers and sisters who don’t want to be split up. It’s a really rewarding job and gives you the opportunity to change a young person’s life for the better.”
The free, open evenings during Foster Care Fortnight are:
Tuesday 15 May, 6pm to 8pm
2 Smith Street
Thursday 17 May 6pm to 8pm
Broughton Hub, 50 Rigby Street
Off Bury New Road
Tuesday 22 May 6pm to 8pm
100 Chorley Road
Thursday 24 May 6pm to 8pm
Cadishead Public Band Community Hall
You can book a place by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org or just drop in.
Or take a look at www.salford.gov.uk/fostering, call 0161 799 1268 or follow us on @Foster4Salford